to really HATE mother and baby groups and want to ditch them?(84 Posts)
I've been to three different ones with my 9 month old, the latest today. All left me feeling quite stressed, deflated and frankly depressed, for so many different reasons.
1) I had an awful time when my son was born. I nearly died, was in intensive care for a while, in and out of hospital for months and ended up with a hysterectomy. I missed most of his first three months either in hospital or off my face on painkillers. So the usual chat about The Birth and the sleeping and the feeding etc makes me well up a bit and don't feel I can really join in.
2) My health visitor insists I should go to groups to meet other Mums. I've got a few friends who are mums already, though not very near by. I don't really see being a mum as enough of a thing in common to build an entire friendship on. I don't really like where we live that much and feel a bit of a fish out of water. And I just don't get why I should suddenly want to make friends with people I otherwise wouldn't just because we both did something that's quite common.
3) The quality of these sessions seems pretty pants to me too. Baby Massage basically consisted of stroking your baby in a way I kind of instinctively did already. Music group involved one lady singing quietly over a naff recording while no one (except me, until I got the stares) joined in. Today's messy play involved an empty water bottle with a few bits of pasta in (we have one of those) and some old tin cans (which incidentally were quite sharp!).
My 9 month old is a pretty confident, physical, independent kid. He can nearly walk and chatters nonsense to everyone he meets. I take no credit for this and I'm not bragging, it's just his nature. It comes with it's own set of pit falls. But it means that at groups pitched for his age, all the other kids site nicely in a circle and he just wants to romp around and shout.
I can't tell if I find these activities so hard purely because of my weirdo hangups (plenty) or because they're essentially crap.
AIBU? When I left the group today I had a bit of a cry as soon as I got to the safety of the car. Is it worth it? He's going to be starting nursery a couple of days a weeks soon so will get lots of social interaction there. Should I stick at it and get over myself so he's not always the weird kid like I was?
The groups are for you. If you're not enjoying them, don't go! I think it is a case of finding one you like, or going with existing friends. I didn't like them either.
Don't stick at it for his sake- at nine months those groups are definitely for you and not him! That said the ones you have found do sound crap.
Is there a NCT bumps and babies group near you? They often meet for coffee and chat type things and don't pretend it's about anything other than social support for the mother!
Or a church toddler group? Bit less structures so baby can crawl around whilst you chat.
I agree you don't have to make friends with people JUST because they have a baby the same age BUT I think your HV is right and you would find life a bit easier/nicer if you do find some local friends nearby.
There's no need to go if you don't want to - maybe your health visitor thinks you're a bit lonely and want to meet other parents, but if you're quite happy on your own then there's no need to force yourself to go. The music group and messy play you went to sound a bit crap tbh - is there a toddler group / stay and play on near you? I go along to those groups with my 1 year old so she can toddle about and fling toys around without messing my house up! I also get a cup of tea and chat with the other mums. I'm not hoping to make friends for life there, but I'm quite sociable and get fed up if I spend too much time on my own.
It sounds like you've mainly gone to organised activity groups for babies. Have you tried a straightforward play group? There is an NCT group and a church run play group near me which I have found better for being sociable than baby groups. Also if your DS is quite mobile he might do better with a bigger age range. I think mums of toddlers are much less likely to be still discussing birth stories in detail. i agree that simply being a mum is not enough in common but you are likely to get a range of people at a play group and may find people you get on with.
for that birth experience, that sounds horrendous.
If you don't enjoy the groups you've tried then there is no point in continuing to go. But I think it would be worth continuing to try new things until you do find something. How about more active groups, if your DS is a physical type? Swimming, perhaps? Or Tumble Tots, which I've just googled and I'm hoping operates locally?! www.tumbletots.com/programmes.php?ID=3
The other benefit of more active types of group is that you're focussed on your baby, so you do chat to other mums but it's not the sole activity. So good for those of us who find small talk a bit awkward.
It sounds like you've been unlucky with the groups youve been tom but whether or not you persevering depends on what you might get out of it. You're right that just being a mum doesn't mean you will necessarily hit it off with someone but at least it does mean you've at least got something to talk about to break the ice before you can get to know someone a bit better. If your dc is 9 months old I'd be suprised if much conversation focused on birth, normally people are focused on the now. If you're working and are just looking at the next few months of maternity leave then I probably wouldn't bother. But as your DC gets older you'd probably want to know mum's with kids of similar ages as kids 2/3+ do like playing with each other and TBH it can be a nice break for kids to play while you get an actual hot cup of tea. Maybe you'll meet parents of other kids at nursery in which case again you might not want to bother. I've been to a few parent and baby-toddler (usually go up to a 4) groups. Gave up on as the mum's all knew each other from school and we're a bit cliquey, gave up anohter as it was very rule driven. But kept going to another as I met some really lovely ladies, and they do great crafts for the kids, stuff that Im less keen to do at home (indoor sand trays, painting, crafts that they have prepped). Its just a group held in a church hall rather than a class as such though I also did a good massage course held by a qualified therapist which I did to learn techniques not to meet other mums. My DD has really enjoyed it from 9-12 months onwards. Plus I don't work right now so I've met people I meet up with e.g. at playgrounds, go for walks, picnics etc. And although initial conversation was obviously baby focused, it definitely goes way beyond that now we know each other better. So I guess I wouldn't give up trying if you think you'd benefit from the company for you or your DC etc, but if you don't need that, don't feel you ought to go.
I don't really see the point of the baby groups until they are at least a year old. Unless you live in a cave, which is unlikely, babies have plenty of home "sensory" and "development" experiences or whatever nonsense is currently fashionable.
When they are a bit older, it can be nice to bring them to a couple of playgroups where they get used to play alongside other children, but you don't have to socialise there at all: bring your kid, play with the new toys for an hour and go. If yours is going to nursery soon, you don't need the groups at all!
These groups are mainly boring, but you never know, you can meet friendly mums, but you don't have to go through your life story either. Not worth stressing about it.
None of mine would have happily seat nicely at 9 months old, unless they were travelling in their buggy!
I couldn't be arsed with them.
With my first child I hated them. Hated talking about babies and feeding and sleeping. Dull. Once he was a toddler, the toddler groups were a nightare, too, as he wasn't the best behaved child and it always ended with him in tears or me feeling very stressed (later we got his diagnosis of autism and it all made sense!).
Second child I liked doing activities with her. We did Monkey Music, baby swim, Buggy Fit etc. Didn't make any real friends out of it, but it gave us a routine, we got out and about and she had fun. Couldn't be doing with the sitting in a damp church hall drinking crap coffee baby group thing though.
I hated them for similar reason in that ds started walking at 9 months and had lots of sky comments like how have I made him do that
Don't go to anything that makes you feel stressed!
Try a toddler group? Swimming? If you want to that is...
If you don't want to go, then don't. They are not compulsory. I got a lot out of them, but fair enough, they're not for everyone.
I didn't do them until this year and only started them this year as had a friend from nursery who went.
I'm sorry about your awful experience.
Your Health Visitor cannot insist on anything like this. They are not social workers. HVs can make suggestions but they cannot 'insist' and shouldn't give you the impression that they can.
If you're not getting anything out of these groups, then of course you shouldn't feel obliged to go back. I've been to some great ones and some awful ones but it should be entirely your choice whether you go or not.
Not compulsory no, and tbh he won't notice at his age anyway. However I've always found that having children the same age means you automatically have a lot in common with others at the group, so it's a good ice breaker from that perspective. I never like going to new groups at first but have eventually come away with loads of good friends and acquaintances from various things.
If you don't want to go, don't. Your baby won't care. Like others have said, the groups are more for you than him!
I hated them, never went, it's like forced friendship
I went to my first one today! (18 mo dd) had to force myself to do it but it was lovely she ran around with other kids and mums were really nice talked about holidays and tv. Was very pleasantly surprised but I wouldn't have been interested with a tiny baby.
and for you. I hated them too but I would echo a pp and say it is worth looking round til you find one you like. My DD is 3 and I have just joined a church. Not for everyone I know but it's a family friendly one and she goes to the crèche where they have songs, crafts etc. I just kept looking online until I found something that suited me. How about your local library?
Your groups sound shit. Don't go if you hate them.
Do you see friends during the working week? I'd have gone insane without adults to talk to when Dh was at work and that's probably why HVs encourage "groups". You don't need to become bffs with the women in them but if they're nice enough to chat to that's often nicer than always being alone with your baby. Unless you genuinely do prefer to be alone.
For me the key was groups that matched my interests which led to meeting people with similar interests. I liked swimming classes, baby and mum yoga and buggy fit.
Three years on I still swim with some of the same kids and mums on my one weekday at home.
If he's going to nursery soon does that mean your going back to work. If so don't stress it, do what you like. HVs worry about mums being socially isolated during mat leave or if they are sahms. It's not such an issue if you work p/t too.
Oh and HVs can be crap. I was suffering PND and felt quite isolated. My HV's solution was to give me the mobile number of a total stranger who happened to also be a mum so I could just ring her out of the blue and suggest we meet up. Needless to say I didn't.
Best of luck OP
As these groups simply didn't exist a few years ago, surely everyone over about 30 would have ended up a weird kid if attending them was so important. And of course it is for your benefit - babies don't really need to socialise with other babies and if you don't feel you are benefiting in any way, it seems a bit pointless. Have to agree thought that the ones you've been to sound a bit crap, so you still might be able to find something that suits you better.
I knew I would loathe them so I never went to a single one.
I went to baby group once. It seemed to be enjoyed by the other mums but was so stressful for me. DD was the baby that clambered over everything and was very active and vocal while other people's fell asleep 😁 Plus dd is adopted and I had to sit through the birth stories feeling so left out. I totally get it though, if a room full of strangers are forced to socialise then child birth will come up inevitably. Just wasn't much good for me!
I have a friend who loves the groups though, why don't you take a break from them then try again when lo is older.
My dc are now 30 and 28 we had mother and baby and mother and toddler groups! I grew up in a village and went to those groups with my own dm fifty years ago so I don't know why you would say they didn't exist. I had my first dc whilst at uni and those groups really helped me I made loads of friends and built up a really strong support network. Your hv is just trying g to be helpful and suggest things that she thinks might be good for you and or your dc. If you don't like them don't go but maybe try some different ones before you give up. I liked the informal coffee and chat around a load of toys groups. When I was very sick with my second pregnancy I don't think I'd have got through it without those friends helping me out. Your HV isn't trying to torture you.
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